Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin

Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin; illustrated by Maribel Lechuga. 2021. Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint with watercolor textures in traditional mediums. Published by Charlesbridge.

Brief summary: Lily is in the back seat driving with her Gram to Iowa where she will now live. The young girl tries to fold up the map while her Gram suggest they find ten beautiful things on the their long car ride. LIly does not see anything beautiful until the sun rises over the horizon. Number 1. They continue to play this game throughout the journey slowly filling Lily’s empty heart with beautiful things.

Comments: I was thinking of so many activities this book could go with in an elementary school setting. I would share this book with young readers to help them look for positive things around them when things are not so great. Keeping in mind that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” may need to be explained before sharing this as a read-aloud. I would then have students/children share what is beautiful to them in the room, in their home, in their school, and so on. Great way to lead to positive thinking.

Ten Beautiful Things Trailer

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy; illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez. 2021. Illustrations were created digitally. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Gabo wakes to a snow covered world and children playing outside on a sled. He wants to go out and join them but he does not have wool socks to keep his feet warm or boots to keep them waterproofed. He just moved from a hot climate and has not played in the snow before now. Mami comes up with substitutes of several layers of cotton socks and plastic bags tied over his shoes.

Gabo goes next door to ask Senor Ramos if he has a sled he could borrow. He does not but his granddaughter, Isa, is visiting and encourages Gabo to play since they are the same age. Gabo is too shy and goes to play with Misifu, a cat.

Gabo’s tia arrives with a plastic cafeteria tray for him to use as a sled. Isa comes over now and they slide up and down the snowy hill until dusk when they go inside and share dulce de leche together.

Comments: Such a sweet story about a shy boy who learned to adapt and have fun while making a new friend. Gabo is bilingual and can speak to many neighbors and is one of those people who can play with animals as well as other kids. Gabo is able to adjust to a new habitat and culture, intertwining both worlds.

*Although this book was released in early January, I did not receive it from the public library until March. I still want to share this even though the season has passed, as I think it is a touching and important story that teaches how to stay positive and move forward.

A Sled for Gabo Read-Aloud with Author Emma Otheguy

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scoot; illustrated by Sydney Smith. 2020. Watercolor, ink and gouache. Published by Neal Porter Books.

Brief summary: A young boy wakes up and notices all of the words around him as he gets ready to go to school where he does not have a good day. His father picks him up after school noticing that his son is having a bad speech day. He takes the boy to the river where they walk in silence along the bank. His father hugs him and says, “See how that water moves? That’s how you speak.”

The boy looks at the river and sees how the water in the river goes slowly, quickly, bubbling, and in many other ways. He realizes how the river can go smoothly at times and also choppy just like how he sometimes speaks. He is able to understand the stuttering simile and goes to school the next day sharing with the class about his favorite place in the world…the river.

Comments: Speech teachers! Here is a superb book for you to share with a student who stutters. Lovely simile that could help students understand how they speak as well as their classmates’.

Touching explanation in the back from the author sharing his stuttering speech as a child and how he wrote this book based on his own life.

Join author Jordan Scott and illustrator Sydney Smith as they discuss their new picture book, ‘I Talk Like a River”.

What’s Inside a Flower?: And Other Questions About Science and Nature by Rachel Ignotofsky

What’s Inside a Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature by Rachel Ignotofsky; illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky. 2021. Illustrations are created traditionally and with a computer. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Questions about flowers are answered with beautiful illustrations and clear informative text. The many labeled diagrams, dialog bubbles, and mixture of fonts and sizes make the picture book easy to read and understand. Young readers will learn about the flower’s seed, root, and blossom.

Comments: This is a nonfiction picture book fully illustrated from the top to the bottom of the page. The end pages are decorated with a variety of flowers. There is a “Sources” page in the back.

This is the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series. You may recognize Ignotofsky’s unique style in her Women in Series Collection.

A Special Story Time: Rachel Ignotofsky presents “What’s Inside a Flower” with VromansBookst

Peter Easter Frog by Erin Dealey

Peter Easter Frog by Erin Dealey; illustrated by G. Brian Karas. 2021. Mixed media. Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.

Brief summary: Peter Easter Frog hops along the forest’s trail placing colored eggs in the grass and runs into a turtle with her Easter hat on. He invites her along his journey and comes across a cow. She joins the frog and turtle as they pass out more eggs and collect a dog and chipmunk to join them. They come across the Easter Bunny who is not happy with them doing his job. Peter Easter Frog gives the Easter Bunny an egg; the first time anyone ever gave the rabbit one. He decides they could all help him deliver the colored eggs.

Comments: This is sweet book with nice pastel illustrations.

This book reminds me of the Easter song we sang in elementary school (“Here Comes Peter Cottontail”) probably because the first line in the book and in the song are very similar. Here is one version of the song:

Here Comes Peter Cottontail | Easter Song for Kids | Bunny Song | The Kiboomers

How to Catch a Clover Thief by Elise Parsley

How to Catch a Clover Thief by Elise Parsley; illustrated by Elise Parsley. 2021. Digitally drawn, painted in Adobe Photoshop. Published by  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: A wild boar named Roy is waiting for his clover patch to bloom. He warns his gopher neighbor, Jarvis, to not steal his clover. Jarvis assures him that he would never steal the yummy white blossoms and gives Roy a clover recipe book to read while the boar waits. Roy decides to go out and get some of the ingredients for a recipe and discovers upon his return that his clover patch is smaller.

Jarvis visits Roy the next day and asks what is the matter. Roy points out that there is a clover thief! Roy explains that he needs to stand guard of his clover and tells the gopher to go away. The gopher offers him a campsite book to help Roy stay there and guard. The wild boar reads the book and starts to put up a tent and build a campfire only to discover that his clover patch is smaller again.

Jarvis continues to give Roy various books while the clover patch gets smaller and smaller. Roy decides he is going to the library to get a book to figure out how to catch the clover thief. Will his invention work?

Comments: Young readers will enjoy the secret and mystery of who is the clover thief. Laugh out loud fun!

I like how the character reads to find answers and eventually, goes to the library to find the perfect book to catch the thief.

“Best-selling author-illustrator Elise Parsley presents her new hilarious new picture book, HOW TO CATCH A CLOVER THIEF.”

Crying is Like the Rain: A Story of Mindfulness and Feelings by Heather Hawk Feinberg

Crying is Like the Rain: A Story of Mindfulness and Feelings by Heather Hawk Feinberg; illustrated by Chamisa Kellogg. 2020. Published by Tilbury House Publishers.

Brief summary: A young boy overhears a grownup comparing feelings to weather and how both change. The boy concludes that crying is like the rain. He shares the different perspectives people have about crying and then relates how the weather can become imbalanced. He learns how feelings can be expressed and mindfully shared with others.

Comments: This book could be shared with students and young ones to help them be aware of the difference types of crying and how people may feel differently about the emotions that go with it.

Sections in the back are: Crying Really is Like the Rain, Weather Reports: A Mindfulness Game, Go to Deeper, and Words Have Power.

It should be noted that the author is a counselor and founder of Mindful Kids.

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh; illustrated by Marianne Ferrer. 2020. Watercolor, gouache, and graphite. Published by Kids Can Press.

Brief summary: With the collaboration of Sundar Paliwal, young readers learn of this true story that takes place in a village called Piplantri, India. They celebrated the birth of a son with music and food, while the birth of a daughter was met with silence. Sundar, one of eleven children, walks with his mother each day for hours in the heat to collect water from a well. His mother is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies. Many years later, he grows up, marries, and becomes a father of three with two daughters and a son.

While working in a marble factory, Sundar sees how the mining takes away from the soil causing it to be dry. He asks the owners to plant trees to restore what was taken, but they refuse. He quits his job. After running for the village head, sarpanch, he wins. He lectures about changing traditions to honoring both boys and girls and shares how there are other countries that treat both sexes equally. He talks about water and electricity. He tells how the factory is killing the land and urges the village members to plant trees.

Soon, villagers begin to plant trees every time a girl is born. He brings engineers to his village where his people are taught to dig trenches to store water for drinking and to water the trees. When the termites come, they grow aloe vera plants to deter the insects. The trees begin to prosper bringing in fruit and animals. They decide to plant 111 trees every time a girl is born. Mothers and daughters take care of their trees and decorate them with ribbons and threads.

Comments: WOW. This story is amazing! One person CAN make a difference.

End pages include: More About Sundar and Piplantri, Why 111 Trees?, What is Gender Inequality?, Sundar’s Plan, Aloe Vera, Extraordinary Change, How Did Sundar Become an Eco-Feminist?, and Are You an Eco-Feminist?

Photos of Sundar and the trees are also included in the back.

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here by Simona Ciraolo

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here by Simona Ciraolo; illustrated by Simona Ciraolo. 2020. Pencil and watercolor. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: A young boy shares how much he loves swimming and only ice-cream can get him out of the water. His older sister warns him to make the most of it, as summer is going to end. He asks what happens after summer, and his sister tells him a dark tale about how fall will come and then winter. He decides there is nothing he can do about it and just has to wait for it to happen. When fall and winter do arrive, they are like his sister said but all in a positive way in which he enjoys the changing of the seasons.

Comments: What a great story to share about the coming of the fall and winter seasons and what happens. Students can see some of the negative and positive traits.